I slept with my girlfriend’s best friend and I hid it for years. There, I said it. Now, the old saying ‘the truth always comes out’ has proven itself to be correct and nothing will be the same again, for my girlfriend, for her friend or for me. One night, my girlfriend passed out and her best friend and I stayed awake, getting increasingly drunk.
There’s nothing I can say that will excuse what happened next. It was selfish, pathetic and the details are moot. What happened shouldn’t have happened but it did.
There is nothing that can be said or done to take it back. The next day we all woke up and went about our day. I wanted to say something but I didn’t have the courage.
Back at work on the Monday, I remember sitting at my desk thinking: ‘my life is over’, the words ringing in my head and the two-day hangover throbbing through my tattered body.
Then a week went by. Then a month. Then a year. The best friend had said nothing, I had said nothing and we never mentioned it to each other.
I told myself that keeping it between us was for the best. This was supposed to be our guilt, not something to inflict on someone else.
Eventually, the friend and I did talk at the pub in secret. We decided the damage that would be done if we said what happened would be too catastrophic, too painful for my girlfriend to bear.
The consequences for her and us seemed utterly insurmountable. Now it seems that we were only thinking about ourselves. Fast forward a year and the best friend let the truth out in a moment of guilt.
This happened just before she moved away and out of the house she lived in with my other half. Next thing I know I’m sitting opposite my girlfriend and she knows what I did.
I didn't know what to say and all I could do was to answer all her questions with absolute truth. ‘Why are you still here?’ I asked, expecting to be dumped instantly. I was always prepared for this scenario – you can hide the truth, but it’s always there in the back of your head.
She wanted to work on things. She wanted some space and to put things on ice. At the end of the day, she wanted to make it through this in order to save the relationships that meant so much to her.
Over the course of the next three months, we kept the dates we had in the diary already, but were effectively on a break. These were the most painful months of my life. I watched what the person I treasure most had to go through to try to come to terms with the mess I had made.
Three weeks later we had a party where all three of us would be staying in the same house for three days. To top it off we would all be driving back in the same car on the Sunday.
I will never forget the heartwrenching feeling of taking a cup of tea to her room on the last morning. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she lay in bed. I could see the agony all over her face. She cried all the way home in the car, with the friend sat in the front seat and us in the back.
She cried all the way through dinner when we stopped off and she cried all evening when we got home and sat watching films at the end of the night. She was trying to normalise what had happened at any cost.
She wouldn’t let me go home that night, so I sat and watched as our other friends had to cuddle her because my touch would only make the pain worse.
We had sex the next day out of the blue, tearing each other’s clothes off after we’d finally managed to snuggle up watching a film. It wasn’t the same though, for her or for me.
Later when we talked about it, she said that she felt empty. After I’d walked home because I couldn’t stay in her bed, I cried quietly in my room because I felt the same.
For the next month, we had sex a few times, but only when we were drunk. Things were up and down constantly. Then we had sex sober one night and she began to cry afterwards because all she could see in her head was me and her best friend. How do you fix that?
After another month she told the friend and I that she didn’t want to speak to either of us for a month and then we’d talk. I knew this was coming and I had been dreading it. But this wasn’t about me anymore, this was about her, and only her.
The only important thing was getting her to feel better. I went to some dark places. My anxiety manifested into trying to drink the month away. Each day was a struggle to get through and every weekend I’d get so obliterated I could barely make it through the week ahead.
But I managed it: I didn’t call her. Eventually, I emerged from my funk and realised I had to sort myself out before we talked. Just before the day of reckoning rolled around, I was ready. To my surprise, she wanted to give things a go for a month to see if she could trust me.
My response was to go for it, but let her do it on her own terms and not jump down her throat in any way. That spark of hope and all the work that we had put in looked like it was going to come to fruition.
Unfortunately, that hope was unfounded. Being around me again just made her miserable and on edge. She wasn’t herself over the next few weeks, making digs and sniping at me. In the end, she broke it off.
We were together for over half a decade and in the end, all the pain and hurt overshadowed all the amazing times that we had together. They became impossible to remember. Two people who love each other now inflict pain on one another just by being around.
I hurt the person I love most in the world in ways that I can’t even begin to imagine and that is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. As for her, she will carry a deep mistrust for people and an anguish that I will never truly know.
She lost her lover and her best friend, two of the people closest to her, probably forever and at a time when she would’ve needed them the most. So I have some advice for anyone out there thinking of cheating or who has cheated, no matter what the circumstances.
Don’t do it. I wouldn’t wish the pain I inflicted on the person I love onto my worst enemy. But if you do make a mistake like me, come clean as quickly as you can. Because it wasn’t what happened that night that destroyed our relationship. It was the lies.